Ellery Akers | The Sun Magazine

Ellery Akers


Ellery Akers is a California artist and naturalist. She wrote her latest book of poems while sitting in a camp chair on a hiking trail.

— From July 2022

Love In Our Seventies

We don’t take each other for granted, because we know we’re old. Sometimes when we’re bird-watching — field guides, binoculars — happy to be looking at egrets or green-winged teal, I think, One of us is going to die first.

July 2022

Fifteen Strokes Of Luck

The first was that I was no longer in pain; I could sleep. / The second was that I was finally able to love: all my life I had been more or less shut. / The third was that I lived near a pond. Watching the mallards dunk made me laugh. I was happy looking at dragonflies and even their empty exoskeletons, their shells shaking a little in the wind.

November 2021
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Taking Care

He sits on the mattress on the floor and unties his sneakers carefully. He spreads his laces to the sides of his shoes, as if they deserved respect.

August 2021

Wanting Things To Be Different

A relapse of Lyme disease: / fever and chills, flickers of pain. / I want to sleep all the time, and my arms ache. / I lie on the steel grate that juts over the stream.

June 2021

My Sister Blazed Through Her Life

When she was young, she had a small part in a play, but everyone looked at her. Dull her down, the director said, throw an old coat over her. They did, but everyone still looked at her.

May 2018

In The Blaze

I was so in love: I listened to his messages on my answering machine again and again, mooned over every tan Nissan that looked like his, carried breath spray in my pocket, left notes in his shoes.

September 2016
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Christmas, New York City, 1979

I’d broken up with my boyfriend, and my sister had broken up with hers and sprained her ankle. She was furious and weeping and mad at herself for weeping, because her mascara was running. She sat in front of her mirror and stroked on fresh mascara, picked up her false eyelashes and stuck them on as if she hated them, slapped her cheeks with her powder puff so hard that powder floated around her in the air.

December 2014

Nature, An Index

Pond: After my mother’s funeral, I come back to the pond. It’s strange to be in the world without her. The lies that used to flutter around her are leaving; I can almost hear a rustle of cellophane in the air. I try to wish her well.

August 2014

The Encounter At Twenty, 1966

The day that it happened, / my teacher had written crap on the bottom of my first poem. / I wanted to throw it into the Hudson / where it would sink with its no / under the gulls, the garbage scows, and the litter.

September 2013
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


By the time I left college and became a naturalist, I knew that change was slow and difficult. At thirty I felt stuck, as if my life had stiffened around me, and for some reason, perhaps unconscious at the time, I began to get interested in insect metamorphosis.

April 2009
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